We regularly import for local company Stretch Tents Scotland. They hire out ‘stretch tents’ for functions such as weddings, parties and other events. Their freestyle tents are strong and extremely flexible, making them a great alternative to traditional marquees.
They regularly import to the UK from Cape Town, South Africa, and have been a regular customer of ours for over four years. We asked them about their experience importing to the UK, and if they had any advice for companies considering importing to the UK for the first time.
How did you find your supplier?
We found our regular supplier through a recommendation from a friend. I think it can save time to ask people you know for their recommendations.
How did you communicate with your supplier?
We used a combination of methods from traditional email and phone, to Whatsapp. It depended on the nature of the communication.
How long have you now worked with your supplier?
We have a had a great relationship with our supplier for the last four years.
How did you find a shipping company?
Our first importing experience was a disaster, we imported goods on CIF terms which left us dealing with an arrival agent at Felixstowe, we found the experience so difficult we quickly decided to get help. And again it was a friend who recommended T.ward shipping.
What did T.Ward Shipping contribute to the import process?
Their 1st job was to fix/help us in dealing with the arrival agent at Felixstowe, through their recommendation we changed our future LCL shipment terms to ‘FOB Cape Town’; this meant we, through t.ward shipping were in control of the goods all the way from South Africa to the UK. T.ward set it up so our goods arrived at a depot in Glasgow instead of Felixstowe which was much better for me. Using a competent importing company to take care of all the little stresses made a huge difference to us. We could take care of the business end and know our goods were being looked after – everything from insurance to packaging and customs was managed by T.Ward.
Is there anything you would you do differently next time?
I would make sure I have a UK based shipping company to assist me in advance of my goods arriving the UK regardless of whether terms of shipment are FOB or CFR/CIF.